Cartwheel Raises $20 Million in Series A Funding to Address the Student Mental Health Crisis

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Cartwheel, a transformative platform dedicated to addressing the escalating student mental health crisis by providing affordable, evidence-based telehealth services with zero waitlists, has successfully secured $20 million in Series A funding. This pivotal round was led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from Reach Capital, alongside earlier investors General Catalyst, BoxGroup, and Able Partners.

The funding infusion is poised to empower Cartwheel in its mission to expand mental health services to countless new students across its current service areas and extend its reach to school districts in previously untapped states.

The state of student mental health has reached a critical juncture. Over the past decade, teen depression rates have more than doubled, and alarmingly, a third of high school girls have contemplated suicide. These harrowing statistics underscore the urgent need for accessible and high-quality mental health care for youth.

Often, students endure untreated symptoms for years due to the shortage of mental health providers, limited insurance coverage, and protracted waiting times, leaving schools with the increasing responsibility of championing student mental health.

Founded in 2022, Cartwheel swiftly emerged as a trusted ally for schools, specializing in the realm of mental health. The founding team, including Chief Medical Officer Juliana Chen, MD, a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, drew upon their collective decades of experience working in schools and community mental health clinics to establish a platform aimed at enhancing the accessibility, quality, and financial sustainability of mental health care.

In a collaborative partnership with Cartwheel, school districts can instantly connect students with clinical mental health services, eliminating frustrating waitlists. Cartwheel’s in-house team of licensed clinicians delivers evidence-based telehealth services, encompassing one-on-one therapy, group therapy, parent guidance, and medication support. Importantly, these services are fully covered by the family’s insurance, as they operate within the network.

Cartwheel operates year-round, ensuring that students can access a licensed clinician from the comfort of their home or school, even during evenings, weekends, school breaks, and the summer months.

Kimberly Huffer, Director of Social-Emotional Learning in Cambridge Public Schools, praised Cartwheel’s transformative impact: “Cartwheel has been a game-changer for us, allowing our students and families to access evidence-based mental health care quickly. Cartwheel is collaborative and responsive to the needs of our students and families and empowers our social workers to have a true partner in the community.”

Throughout the entire care process, Cartwheel works hand-in-hand with school staff and families to ensure students receive the necessary support. A clinically licensed Program Manager offers continuous support to school administrators, aiding them in managing student cases, enhancing parent engagement, and providing staff training. Additionally, bilingual Care Coordinators assist families with scheduling, insurance matters, and referrals for additional services.

Furthermore, Cartwheel extends its support to parents, offering weekly guidance sessions with licensed clinicians to discuss strategies for supporting their child, even if the child is not interested in therapy. Parents can also participate in educational workshops focusing on various timely mental health topics, ranging from school avoidance to responsible social media use.

The investment in Cartwheel reflects the pressing nature of the youth mental health crisis. Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures, emphasized the importance of Cartwheel’s collaboration with schools, which enables early intervention, enhances student and family engagement throughout the care process, and fosters better coordination among trusted adults in a student’s life.

Steve Kupfer, Partner at Reach Capital, lauded Cartwheel’s model, recognizing its role in providing essential relief to communities nationwide. Cartwheel’s comprehensive approach, encompassing care coordination, parent engagement, and a versatile team of licensed clinicians, is poised to make a significant impact.

Cartwheel currently serves over 50 school systems across five states, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island, offering invaluable support to thousands of students, families, and school staff.

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